San Diego Mayor Bob Filner once called for anyone involved in sexual harassment in the military to be terminated, defended Bill Clinton against accusations of sexual harassment and reminded voters of his opponent’s sexual improprieties.
Filner, who returns to office this week after checking himself out of sexual harassment training early, has been dogged by allegations that he sexually assaulted or harassed more than dozen women. According to the local ABC affiliate, Filner, the city attorney and a lawyer for some of his alleged victims spent Monday in a mediation conference, and the mayor may be considering resigning soon.
But back when he was representing California’s 50th and 51st congressional districts, Filner energetically portrayed himself as a champion of those who had been sexually assaulted in the military.
“There shall be no sexual assaults on our sites,” then-Rep. Filner said emphatically on the floor of Congress in 2011. “And yet what we’re saying here, ‘Oh, we’ll add a few more reporting requirements.’ Well, that doesn’t send a message, because we already had the reporting requirements. Let’s try to find a way… to send a message to our agency not that we are going to pass a few rules but that we’re going to take this seriously.
“We’re going to demand that the employees who did not follow what is clearly stated in rule and law about reporting alleged cases of sexual assault and that they did not follow this. They ought to have been terminated, in my opinion. This is so serious and would have sent such a good message to those who might either perpetrate or are victims of such assault. They should have been terminated. I doubt that they were. I would doubt that they were even removed from their jobs. I would hope the V.A. [Veterans Administration] might contradict me. I doubt that there is anything more than a note that they should do better in the future. I hope I’m wrong but I will tell you that the history of personnel actions in response to acts such as these has not been one that gives confidence to me that we have sent the right message.”
Filner also criticized the Bush Administration for not doing enough to stop sexual harassment in the military.
“The Executive Office of the President seems to care more about hiding the truth about military sexual trauma rather than putting forward a budget to help women and men who have suffered military sexual assault and rape,” Filner wrote in a statement in 2005.
While Filner was showing concern with military rape victims, he was allegedly also taking advantage of them. Two of his accusers so far are women who claim to have been assaulted in the service and first encountered Filner at a 2012 event for the National Women’s Veterans Association of America.